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6.8: Lesson 5 Grammar - Tag questions with 吗 (ma)

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    65659
  • As well as yes/no questions, you can also form tag questions with 吗 (ma). Tag questions are quick questions that are tagged on the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation. In English, this is often done with "right?" or negatively with "isn't it?"

    The easiest way to do this in Chinese is to add some kind of confirmation word and 吗 (ma) on the end of the sentence.

    Structure 

    As you can see below, the pattern typically involves words like 好 (hǎo), 对 (duì), 是 (shì), or 可以 (kěyǐ), followed by 吗 (ma).

         ……, 好 / 对 / 是 / 可以 + 吗?

    By placing these on the end of a sentence, you can soften a suggestion or request confirmation.

    Examples 

    • 这样做,对吗?
      Zhèyàng zuò, duì ma?
      Do it like this, right?
       
    • 你们见过,对吗?
      Nǐmen jiàn guo, duì ma?
      You’ve met, right?
       
    • 他们昨天都没去,是吗?
      Tāmen zuótiān dōu méi qù, shì ma?
      They didn't go yesterday, right?
       
    • 你没来过,是吗?
      Nǐ méi lái guo, shì ma?
      You haven't been here, right?
       
    • 你喜欢我妹妹,是吗?
      Nǐ xǐhuan wǒ mèimei, shì ma?
      You like my younger sister, huh?
       
    • 我们去你家,好吗?
      Wǒmen qù nǐ jiā, hǎo ma?
      Let's go to your place, OK?
       
    • 不要告诉他,好吗?
      Bùyào gàosu tā, hǎo ma?
      Don't tell him, OK?
       
    • 今天我们都不喝酒,好吗?
      Jīntiān wǒmen dōu bù hējiǔ​, hǎo ma?
      Let's all not drink alcohol today, OK?
       
    • 我现在想去洗手间,可以吗?
      Wǒ xiànzài xiǎng qù xǐshǒujiān, kěyǐ ma?
      I want to go to the bathroom now. Is that OK?
       
    • 妈妈,我要吃巧克力,可以吗?
      Māma, wǒ yào chī qiǎokèlì, kěyǐ ma?
      Mom, I want to eat chocolate. May I?

    [adapted from AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 3.0]

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    Any Questions? 

    If you have any questions about this grammar point, please ask in the class forums!